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Columnists
21 Apr 2016
by Ian Chillcott
Have we created an environment where anglers are afraid to show their emotions?
It would appear so according to Ian Chillcott's research...

I always believed that we go fishing because it makes us happy

I am fortunate in that I can arrive at the lake I am fishing at whatever time I like, to start the two or three days that I do most weeks. It’s normally a Monday, and it is usually at, or just before, first light. In the main it is simply because the light filling the sky gets me all fired up for the next couple of days as I watch nature come to life, and just as importantly, I can see the carp as they move around at this most active time of day for them.

Of course there are going to be other benefits, and one of them is that the odd angler will have fished overnight on the Sunday and be heading off to work later that morning. Whatever they are doing, it gives me a chance to catch up on what has happened on the lake during the weekend. I have never been interested in who has had what, that is normally only of interest to those that sadly compare their captures to others. I just want to know how the lake has been fishing, because invariably I will do my own thing anyway. And finally there is always the added bonus of sharing a capture with those that I meet, and occasionally I get asked to do some pictures.

No matter what fishing we do, we do it for fun don’t we?

It was just such an occasion that I came across a while ago as I wandered around the pond. It was an overcast morning with just a hint of rain in the air, and even before I had got to the first angler, I had seen a few fish in several areas of the lake. Things were looking good, and they got a whole lot better as I rounded a corner only to see a carp resting quietly in a landing net. It was an average sized fish for the lake, and the first thing I did was put out my hand to the captor and congratulate him on his success. He gave me the limpest of handshakes, which always makes my stomach churn, and simply grunted a reply. I reasoned that the fact he was so grumpy was the early hour, and he hadn’t quite woken up just yet. It seemed more likely he would have been happier should I have told him that I had heard on the radio that the world was going to end later that day! He needed some pictures, and of course I volunteered my services. The fish was carried to the unhooking mat and duly weighed, so with that obviously arduous task taken care of, I got in position to record his capture with the camera. As I peered through the viewfinder I was greeted with the most extraordinary vista. So extraordinary in fact that I lowered the camera and asked him to put the fish down for just a second. His attitude didn’t change too much, and I guessed he thought I was going to sort something out. In fact, I needed to ask him a question… so I did.

It was obvious from his pained expression that something was terribly wrong, so I asked how many of his family had died recently, to which he showed very little reaction. It must have been something else then, so remarked how sorry I was for him that he had just shit his pants! He really wasn’t getting the point, so in the end I had to be a bit more direct and ask why he looked so bloody unhappy and glum at the thought of holding such a beautiful carp up for the camera.

I don’t care if I look like I don’t know what I’m doing, it just makes me smile!

Apparently, it was only a ‘shitter’ (we’re talking upper-twenty here) and why should he look happy when he would rather look like he knew what he was doing. I had no reply, I just didn’t know what to say, and even turned down the offer of a cup of tea once the pictures, all two of them, had been taken. I escaped as fast as I could, wondering why some people actually go fishing if the capture of a carp made them so unhappy. But he is so obviously not alone in his thinking. I see many pictures of people looking down on a carp who must be wondering just how long they have left to live, along with any number of other nightmare scenarios. Oddly enough, I also want to ask them if they too have a turd in their Y fronts, and is that the reason for their doom and gloom.

It got me thinking so much about this subject that I have been running a little poll for a few weeks. Nothing scientific of course and I haven’t any idea just how accurate it is, but I have asked a cross section of age groups and people about the subject, and what I have discovered has vexed me greatly. One told me to f*&k off, because it was none of my business, which of course it isn’t, but it still fascinates me. One other told me that it made him look “well ‘ard” which in a fishing situation is probably the last thing most people would want to appear as… surely? Overall though, amid the twenty five or so people I have spoken to, the overriding reason is that they don’t want to look like it makes them happy because people will think that they haven’t experienced the holding of a carp very often, or that they won’t be taken seriously. This, in my world at least, defies friggin belief! Have we created an environment where people are afraid to display their emotions? Is it now vital to try and infer that it doesn’t really matter that a carp has been caught? Or is it simply that the captors are worried that their wives are going to find out that he has crapped his underwear several times because he caught three carp on his latest session? Only my opinion of course. Laters

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